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The Social Media Companies Such as Facebook and Google Require Additional Regulation

ArmchairTechInvestor, October 19, 2018, by Brad Peery

Book-Simon and Schuster: China vs. U.S. 2018, A Police State vs. A Democracy. Published in September 2018
Book on Trump’s Political Agenda and Achievements, Published in September 2017

Blogs, China vs. U.S. Issues
www.ArmchairPolitician.US, Trump Political Achievements
China Trade-One Belt, One Road Initiative

In September 2018, Facebook had an attack on its computer network that jeopardized the personal information of almost 50 million of its users. Earlier, during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Once in, the hackers could have gained access to apps like Spotify, Instagram, LinkedIn and many others that allow users to log into their systems through Facebook.

Transparency is an issue. Facebook has been criticized for being too slow to acknowledge disinformation campaign run by Russian agents before the 2016 presidential election.

In April, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg testified about the disclosure that Cambridge Analytica, a British firm, had worked with the Trump presidential campaign and used personal information of millions of Facebook users without their consent.

Outside the U.S., the impact of fake news appearing on Facebook and its messaging service, WhatsApp, has been severe. In countries that include Myanmar and India, false rumors are believed to have led to widespread violence and killing.

Google is facing a different issue, with President Trump claiming that its search results are biased against conservatives.

“Google & others are suppressing the voices of conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” President Trump tweeted in August 2018.

According to the author of this article, research at Harvard University in 2017 found that Google’s search rankings are not objective.

Also in 2017, Google was fined $5 billion by the European Union. Google violated the E.U.’s competition rules by forcing cell-phone manufacturers to pre-install the firm’s search engine and Chrome Web browser on Android phones. “In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine,” Margrethe Vestager, the E.U.’s competition commissioner, said in a statement. “These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere.”

ArmchairTechInvestor Opinion

The Washington-based Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media and Politics
and New America issued a report suggesting that the social media companies need additional regulation. The issues include:
• Acquiring additional companies to expand the scope of their customer databases including acquisition scrutiny based upon anti-trust grounds;
• Privacy practices of companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Apple, AT&T and Charter Communications require tighter privacy laws;
• Use of customer information requires additional disclosure on how user information is used to secure advertising.

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